Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran at CBCP Plenary Assembly, Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila, 2012. – By Dave Viehland
Five survivors of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in central Philippines in 2013 will be among individuals who will meet and eat with Pope Francis when he comes to the Philippines for his pastoral visit in January, Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran said.
Bishop Medroso, whose diocesan territory covers quake-ravaged Bohol province, revealed the plan in an interview on Monday, Sept. 1 with Manila Archdiocese’s Veritas 846.
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will visit the Philippines from Jan. 15-19 proceeding from his apostolic trip to Sri Lanka.
Bishop Medroso said he still hopes that the Holy Father would swing by Bohol, even for just a short time to visit with residents who suffered effects of the earthquake. Such a visit would inspire them, the bishop said.
“He (Pope Francis) will be going to Palo and we will be sending there some of my people here who were victims of the quake, five of them. They will eat with the Pope. It is also my dream he would come to Bohol, kahit mga (even for just) 1 or 2 hours to counsel our people,” Bishop Medroso said.
More than 200 people died due to the earthquake and an estimated 300,000 individuals have been affected by the tremor that rocked Bohol, and sections of Negros Oriental and Cebu provinces.
Bishop Medroso reported that aside from 11 Heritage Churches, the earthquake destroyed at least 33 other churches in his diocese.
He said the diocese has built “alternative churches” and temporary tents where Catholics could gather for Mass. He said the diocese faces the challenge of lack of funds and land to set up churches.
Bishop Medroso stressed, nonetheless, that the Church will continue with its services to the faithful.
The radio report in Tagalog language can be read here.